Last night (22 November), the shortlists for this year's Costa Book Awards were announced, with six nods for Penguin Random House books over four categories.
The awards, which honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland, are split into five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - with one of the five winners chosen as Book of the Year, announced at an awards ceremony in London every January.
Amongst those up for the First Novel prize is Anne Youngson, a former executive in the motor industry, who started to take writing more seriously after taking early retirement. After completing an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University, she wrote Meet Me at the Museum, which was published by Transworld this year. A deep and luminous story focusing on an unexpected friendship, the judges celebrated the book, calling it ‘A warm and well-observed story of love in later life, unexpected friendship and the ties that bind.’
Upon hearing she'd made the shortlist, Anne talked about how she wants to inspire others like her to explore the world of writing, commenting: 'I find writing so therapeutic, a way to make sense of life, that I want other people to take up writing. And hopefully it can push more people towards publication.'
‘A moving tribute to friendship and love, to the courage of the ordinary, and to starting again’ RACHEL JOYCE
Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are
When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.
When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.
They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.
Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.
Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.
Can their unexpected friendship survive?
A deep and luminous story of late love and second chances - an enduring novel of ideas about life, love and the surprises it throws at us.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE
WINNER OF THE PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST COLLECTION**
A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, Assurances begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction.
Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Morgan places moments of calm reflection alongside the tensions inherent in guarding against such a permanent threat. A work of variations and possibilities, we hear the thoughts of those involved who are trying to understand and justify their roles. We examine the lives of civilians who are not aware of the impending danger, as well as those who are. We listen to the whirring minds of machines; to the voice of the bomb itself. We spy on enemy agents: always there, always somewhere close at hand.
Assurances is an intimate, dramatic work for many voices: lyrical, anxious, fragmentary and terrifying; a poem about the nuclear stalemate, the deterrent that is still in place today: how it works and how it might fail, and what will vanish if it does.